STOCKTON, California — With inflation causing gas, food and housing to soar, the cost of caring for an animal is no different.
According to a report from petfoodindustry.com, dog and cat food manufacturing jumped nearly 9% in March. It's the largest year-to-year increase since 2009, with the costs getting passed on to pet owners.
The situation has gotten bad enough that it is no longer just neglected cats and dogs getting dropped off at the Stockton Animal Shelter, but animals families can't afford anymore.
"We're seeing an increase in stray animals that appear to be very well cared for, well fed, great coats, clearly owned dogs," Meghan Ramczyk, Stockton Animal Shelter Manager, said.
For the third day in a row, Ramon Villanueva was hoping to get help for his three-month old dog "Babies' at the Stockton Animal Shelter. The seasonal fork lift driver doesn't have the money to care for his dog alone.
"We want to spay it, but we can't afford that and shots and all that - we can't afford it either," Villanueva said.
Just like "Babies" has his unique story, the animals at the shelter have their own as well.
On Wednesday morning, a kitten was found abandoned outside the shelter, and an older cat was given up after its elderly owner died recently.
"They may be recently moved, maybe recently became homeless. Sometimes, their fence is down, and they can't afford to fix the fence," Ramczyk said.
Martha Moreno has fostered kittens for nearly 20 years. She stopped by the shelter to pick up more kittens to take home.
"It's just exploding again, and see it's only June first," Moreno said.
The bottom line is that the animal shelter is at capacity and dogs like "Babies" could, in the end, be turned away.
Adoption fees, which include a spay or neuter, shots, a microchip and more are being waived at Stockton Animal Shelter. There is also a "Pet Pantry" at the Stockton Animal Shelter. Free dog and cat food is given away while supplies last every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 9 to 11 a.m. in the shelter parking lot at 1575 S. Lincoln Street.
At the Front Street Shelter in Sacramento, they currently have an adoption special. You can adopt a dog over six months for just $25 and an adult cat over six months for only $5.